The more cerebral quadrants of science fiction often exist uneasily with the demands of movie-making, and so it is with ‘Annihilation,’ a taut, challenging work by writer-director Alex Garland that, alas, doesn’t yield a payoff completely worthy of the journey, reports CNN.
Natalie Portman headlines as Lena, a biologist whose husband (Oscar Isaac, in what nerds will identify as a ‘Star Wars’ cross-trilogy marriage) has gone missing on a military mission. It turns out that he had disappeared into something called The Shimmer, a strange, perhaps alien expanse -- ensconced within what’s known as Area X -- that’s slowly but inexorably growing, threatening the world along with it.
Adapted from Jeff VanderMeer’s book (and already the subject of some controversy amid charges of ‘whitewashing’ in its casting), ‘Annihilation’ is a notably female-centric film, as Lena embarks on her expedition into The Shimmer with an all-women group, well aware that it’s a bit like an ethereal roach motel -- researchers go in, but they haven’t come out.
In its tone and stylized look, ‘Annihilation’ brings to mind ‘Arrival,’ another recent science-fiction film that dabbled in big ideas.
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